QnA: Can I configure a default root folder for my IMAP account?

I have recently moved to the windows mobile platform and am having trouble with Outlook and IMAP. Is there any way for me to configure the root folder fore IMAP in the settings? My IMAP folders are under ~/mail/ of my account and Outlook Mobile unfortunately tries to get all the folders under ~/


IMAP is a very 'flexible' standard, to say the least, so it is difficult to support the multitude of available servers, each configured slightly differently.  We strive to support as many servers as we can, but some configurations are simply incompatible with our methodology or result in a poor user experience.


In your case, the incompatibility stems from the fact that the mail server does not confine the IMAP client to the mail folder.  This causes our IMAP client to crawl through and synchronize the entire folder hierarchy instead of just the relevant mail folders.  With a sufficiently large and complex folder hierarchy, this is enough to cause significant user pain in the form of wasted time, memory, and bandwidth.


Some mail clients get around this issue by allowing the user to specify a new root folder.  Unfortunately the WM 5.0 IMAP implementation does not support a user configurable root folder.


Configurable IMAP folders (root, deleted, sent) have been requested and considered in the past.  But due to the vagaries of the software development process, this feature has slipped through the cracks.  We are always working to empower our users, and I hope that we can address this issue in a future release.



Jeffrey Min

SDE, Outlook Mobile

Comments (7)
  1. alanbarrow says:

    I know this is an old post, but having spent many hours trying to get IMAP on WM5 working correctly I have to comment.

    The bottom line is that as far as I can tell WM5 outlook is not RFC compliant in it’s IMAP support. Not being able to specify the root folder breaks imap for a majority of the IMAP servers out there. The standard does specify and allow the server to use the file structure of it’s choice, and allow for discovery during the folder subscription process.

    Outlook on WM5 is the first mailer of the several I’ve used which does not support this, and it’s a significant barrier. I’m hoping it’s been addressed in WM6.

    I know there are limitations on what you can do in mobile devices, but to not support the IMAP infrastructure that a significant majority of ISP’s use is a problem. (CPANEL/Courier-IMAP) This is not an issue with competitor mobile devices!



  2. Will England says:

    Outlook Mobile is the first IMAP client I’ve encountered that does not allow you to configure a root folder – it renders my HTC Mogul basically useless for IMAP mail.  This really needs to be addressed.

  3. Licantrop0 says:

    Hi Jeffrey.

    I have an HTC Dual Touch (WM 6.0, hopefully upgradable to 6.1).

    You talked about WM5, and I wish to know if the Configurable IMAP folders (root, deleted, sent) is supported in WM6.1.


    Luca Spolidoro

    Microsoft MVP Windows Desktop Experience

  4. Morten-Christian Bernson says:

    Quote: You talked about WM5, and I wish to know if the Configurable IMAP folders (root, deleted, sent) is supported in WM6.1.

    Where do you configure this?  I have upgraded to WM 6.1, and can’t find this anywhere.  It takes virtually forever to download mail, since it’s syncing my whole folder-hierarchy every time.  It’s useless as it is, and I need a way to contain it within the "mail" folder…

  5. I am also interested if having IMAP prefix is such a big deal for Outlook Mobile IMAP client. I understand you couldn’t make it for WM5, but what about WM6 & WM6.1?

    Hope you will get it in WM7 then, as not everybody in the world is using Exchange or POP3. I got also iPhone and IMAP works very well there together with path prefixing and setting the Sent, Deleted folders.

  6. dsiminiuk says:

    I also have an HTC Mogul on Sprint and I love that Gmail let’s me access my personal e-mail while Mobile over IMAP ROOT FOLDER MUST BE CONFIGURABLE OR I CAN’T DELETE MESSAGES WITHOUT MOVING EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM TO [GMAIL/Trash].

    Please fix this.

    I have WM 6.1 now.

  7. FITEC says:

    i fully agree that configurable imap folders are a killer feature – i switched back to symbian because WM6 does not support this. Guys – please integrate it in version 7!

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